Too many B2B ecommerce sites feature messaging geared only toward other B2B companies and then wonder why their well-crafted messaging doesn’t sell anything. I can tell you why. It’s because B2B companies don’t buy anything.
No, really. I’m serious. B2B companies don’t buy anything.
(Are you scratching your head yet?)
B2B companies don’t make buying decisions–they bankroll buying decisions. In B2B companies–just like everywhere else in the world–PEOPLE are responsible for actually deciding which products to buy. While the company is the “customer,” the opportunity for a relationship lies with the person doing the buying.
Does it seem like I’m splitting hairs? I mean, what’s the difference between buying and bankrolling a purchase? A lot, actually. And here’s why:
B2B ecommerce sites that focus on the needs of another company are missing their target because the people in charge of making the buying decisions for that company aren’t thinking like a corporation. They are thinking like the employee of a corporation. That specific employee has his or her own unique needs, aspirations and agendas.
And as much as we would like to think that those personal attitudes don’t color a corporate purchase, they do. The individual might be eligible for a bonus if they come in under budget for the year, making the total cost of the purchase their highest priority. They might be under the gun to get product to various locations around the country as quickly as possible, so warehouse drop shipments and expedited shipping might matter most. They probably want to look good for their boss, so your performance guarantee and personalized service are likely to matter.
What does this mean to you as a B2B ecommerce retailer?
Focus your promotions, web copy, site design, user interface, imagery and user tools on the people doing the buying rather than on a company. Make sure the individual buying for your large corporate customer knows exactly why he or she should be doing business with you. Speak to what matters to your buyers and the sales will come.